This site is a long held ambition of mine. The aim is to provide an independent source of useful information for all photographers, wherever they are. We’re all facing changes in cameras and imaging technology happening at a rate never seen before, so it’s very hard to keep up. As photography is a business as well as a hobby to me I can justify spending time and money on my own tests, but it always seemed a shame that I could only ever share the results with a small number of friends, so I had wondered for a while if I could make a useful web site with this information. When I finally got around to trying and published a few pages of tests I was amazed to find that the site had been viewed by visitors from over 50 countries, so I published more lens tests and then started to publish my photo printer and RAW software tests too. Soon all of the sites had visitors from over 115 countries. Now publishing the tests has become a large part of my working life and so far www.phototestcenter.com has had visitors from around 200 countries.
As a professional industrial and commercial photographer for over 30 years my reputation depends on the quality of results I produce and I’ve learned through hard experience that it pays to test lenses before using them. I like to go on a job knowing exactly how each lens will perform. Most of my work is on events or projects that will happen once - so no re-shoots. Much of my work is aerial photography - usually from helicopters - which are very expensive to hire - so I have to be quick. Working outdoors through the winter in poor light I need high ISO’s, and to absolutely know which lenses I can use at full aperture. All of this has made me obsessed with testing every lens I buy. Lens Reviews
I also make lots of tests in other areas. The first serious digital SLR camera I used professionally was the Fuji S2 Pro which comes, like most DSLR’s, with free RAW conversion software. Like most of these packages it wasn’t very good, so I bought Fuji’s Hyper Utility Suite, and although it produced excellent results, it was, and is, so badly designed that I started looking for alternatives. Obviously I was far from alone, as lots of independent packages have appeared. So I test Camera RAW file conversion software in the RAW Darkroom
The last stage in producing beautiful photographs has always been the print and over the last five years there’s been a revolution here too. Digital photography means that the skills of the darkroom are no longer vital but new skills are. Digital images can still be printed on conventional photographic paper but most of us, amateur or professional, use inkjet photo printers for at least some of our prints. Of all of the areas of digital photography, this area is the one that still gives the most trouble. It’s a struggle to get screen colour to match output colour, and there are worries about how long prints will last. Inkjet printer makers seem intent on squeezing as much money as possible out of us, while giving as few prints per inkset as possible, so I test photo paper and inks, and I make fade tests to try to find the most efficient and cost effective answers. Should you use independent photo paper or ink? Or is it best to stick with the manufacturer’s products? Photo Printer and Paper Reviews
I hope you find the information useful.